27 October 2011

Random Choices

Books: The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde (2006)

Sometimes, especially in his Thursday Next series, Fforde does not explore the other characters too much. I mean, Thursday is well rounded, nearly three dimensional person, but a lot of the times, you don’t get much more than two-dimensional with the supporting ones. Ironically, in The Fourth Bear, the second novel in Jasper Fforde’s Nursery Crime series, he allows some of the supporting characters to move a bit forward. 

After all the glory that Jack Spratt got solving of the Humpty Dumpty murder case four months ago is now gone, a series of blunders and mishaps – the biggest being the Red Riding Hood murder investigation where a few people were eaten by the wolf – has found the NCD under the gun to be disbanded. And because of the Riding Hood case, Jack is been ordered to take a psych evaluation and some time off. Shortly after this, the sinister psychopath The Gingerbread Man has escaped from the mental asylum that Jack put him into twenty years ago, and he's going on a rampage, while a death of a reporter named Goldilocks – a huge advocate for the bear population living in the area- gives DS Mary Mary  (who finds romance with a fellow officer) a chance shine, whether she wants it or not. But a simple investigation uncovers a more sinister plot that may go high up. Also, why goes Jack keeping running into the Gingerbread Man, only to be left alive? And what do the intricacies of bear society, the illegal trafficking in black market porridge, and a theme park based on the Battle of the Somme have to do with each other?

The Fourth Bear is a stronger book than The Big Over Easy (as I’ve mentioned before about Fforde’s World Building style sometimes gets in the way of the plot), because I actually think the story is more effective. His weirdness, his silly humor, his ability to create a coherent universe that makes some sort of logical sense is what makes these books (and his Thursday Next books) a delight to read. These series of novels -what makes a good writer, I think- allows Fforde to let his imagination run wild and the reader is awarded greatly because of it.

26 October 2011

Suicide takes another gay teen

It can be said that prejudice is a product of ignorance that hides behind barriers of tradition. Here, in Norman Oklahoma, when the city council was weighing a debate about October being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History Month in the city -which was passed 7 to 1 in favor of it- the debate about it rose to a predictable dislike for that said group.

A 19 year-old teen named Zack Harrington was there, and he was witness to his fellow Oklahomanians illogical reasons as to why this was a bad idea. We don't have to go over the minutes, as you can read the article. But none of you will be surprised at what was said.

But for one young man, whom his sister described as a person who was "internalizing everything and analyzing everything," it was his breaking point. While the measure passed, I think he saw all the ugliness that came from adults, people who were his parents age. Like all gay youths who somehow survived the High School years, and now are trying today to tell kids who are coming out so much sooner, that it does get better, to see adults acting like this must have triggered something in Zack.

Being face-to-face with intolerance sometimes has an effect of not wanting to fight more, but perhaps to ask one self, "what's the point?"

I think young Zack, while maybe happy for the city passing the bill, felt that the struggle for acceptance, for understanding was a fight he no longer wanted to battle. I'm sad that he decided this, but in some ways even I can understand his plight. We need more people to help fight what is a good cause, and the more we end our lives, the longer the fight will take.

It seems obvious to me, as I've said before, all of us need to help one another. We cannot do this alone, and the weak, the disfranchised, the homeless, the unemployed, the gay youth of today need people to show up at their doors, talk to them on the phone and tell them again and again that life is worth living. Yes, death is a great equalizer, and no matter how rich, how poor you are, you cannot escape it. But to die for this, seems pointless and a waste.

And we all need to stop it.   

25 October 2011

The Cast of JUDAS KISS now out on DVD

Here is the cast of JUDAS KISS, which came out on DVD today. 

Front, from L to R Julian LeBlanc, Charlie David, Julia Morizawa, Director J.T. Tepnapa, Timo Descamps, Richard Harmon, Production Unit Manager Tellier Killaby and Sean Paul Lockhart 

In the back, from L to R: Assistant to the Director David O'Neill and Executive Producer Steven Parker

Flaunting their Genetic Luck

24 October 2011

Mike Chang

Happy Birthday to my little sister

We certainly are two people with opposite viewpoints about a lot of things. And at times, we've come to bad words and sometimes blows (when we were kids) over them.

Time has healed some, but there is obviously more time needed. I'm not sure we'll ever see eye-to-eye on most things because its hard to forget the things I've said.

No matter what, I will always love you. And while we have huge gaps of time/space between conversations now, you're still my sister. Siblings are suppose to get along, I guess, but I believe that not always to be true. I suppose will have to have simple, imperfect one.

Happy Birthday.

23 October 2011

This Year

I broke free on a saturday morning
I put the pedal to the floor
headed north on mills avenue
and listened to the engine roar

my broken house behind me
and good things ahead
a girl named cathey
wants a little of my time
six cylinders underneath the hood
crashing and kicking
listen to the engine whine

i am going to make it through this year
if it kills me
i am going to make it though this year
if it kills me

i played video games in a drunken haze
i was seventeen years young
hurt my knuckles punching the machines
the taste of scotch rich on my tongue

and then cathey showed up
and we hung out
trading swigs from a bottle
all bitter and clean
locking eyes
holding hands
twin high maintenance machines

i am going to make it through this year
if it kills me
i am going to make it though this year
if it kills me

i drove home in the califonia dusk
i could feel the alcohol inside of me
hum pictured the look on my stepfather's face
ready for the bad things to come

i down shifted
as i pulled into the driveway
the motor screaming out
stuck in second gear
the scene ends badly
as you might imagine
in a cavalcade of anger and fear

there will be feasting
and dancing
in Jerusalem next year

i am going to make it through this year
if it kills me
i am going to make it though this year
if it kills me

Books: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (2010)

Taking a page from 1984 and other dystopian novels, Jasper Fforde creates a horrid English future, but without the usual tropes of the genre such as storm troopers, surveillance robots, or a super-computer. What time in the future this new series is set is not fully revealed, but Fforde does give hints, suggesting that (from my point of view) its somewhere in the late 24th or early 25th Century. History is relegated to a centuries-ago "Previous," which came to an abrupt end by "Something That Happened."

In Shades of Grey we are introduced to the citizens of Chromatacia who are layered by color, which are funneled and continually adjusted by underground pipes that also maintain the greener than green parks and brightly hued storefronts of a society whose leader, the axiom-prone Munsell, may or may not exist. Chromatacia has a sort of Boy Scout way of doing things insomuch as merits are given out for good behavior and keeping the status quo. Demerits are given for some of the smallest infractions, and they come with instructions on how humility is better. Humility keeps people from asking too many questions and thus keeps it populace busy doing pointless tasks. At the top are the arrogant Yellows and the bottom is the Greys, who are treated with a sort of respect (because “rules are rules,”) but are treated like cheap labor –which is a problem, as there seems to be a labor shortage going on. What we have in between is an assortment of color-coded middles with Last Names right out of any paint catalog. All these middles are in an endless quest for any sort of minor upward mobility that will enhance their color. And here, you are what you see, and perception is limited by an individual's access to gradations of his own or other colors, and social order depends upon the incuriosity of its citizens from birth until they die, appropriately, of the dread disease Mildew. But like any totalitarian society, there are leaks and there are traces of that long gone society all over the place. The traces that remain of that bygone world are available to a ghostly underclass that roams free because the populace is under orders to pretend they're invisible, or to those with enhanced perception. 

Entering stage left, is 20 year-old Eddie Russett and his father into the Outer Fringe town of East Carmine. Eddie has a middling color, but he’s also gifted with a powerful ability to see more Red than he should, but he’s been sort of “exiled” here after running afoul of Prefects of his home town, Jade-Under-Lime, who did not like his idea of improving queue lines. But things go a bit out of hand almost as so as he arrives, as he discovers Jane –a Grey with an attitude who threatens to break Eddie’s jaw- who seems to hold secrets about many things. Soon Eddie discovers the leaks within Chromatacia, East Carmine and the Head Office. And his curiosity about the death of a resident and his desire to be closer to Jane may end up getting him killed as he begins to understand that all is not well.

In Shades of Grey, we see a lot of bad things happen to good people (keep in mind Spock’s saying of the “needs of the many”), and we see a creative spin on a totalitarian society by the ever clever Jasper Fforde, who also created another brilliant universe with his Thursday Next series. The one drawback to Shades of Grey is that Fforde seems to enjoy this World Building so much so, at times, it costs in the narrative flow of the book. Like the first Thursday Next book, which seemed to take forever to get going due to this, Grey suffers the same fate. Still, if you stick with it, your rewarded with Fforde’s brilliant, literate humor and supporting characters right out of a Charles Dickens novel.

19 October 2011


The Avengers

Another one of my favorite, and memorable TV shows from the 1960s was The Avengers. When I saw the show in syndication in the 1970s, the episodes that aired where generally the fifty episodes that starred Diana Rigg as Emma Peel. I loved everything about this show, the witty dialogue, the OTT scripts and the way women were treated as more equal to men. Long before the original Charlie's Angels hit American TV, Diana Rigg's Emma was high kicking and taking on evil men. Rigg was this classy, smart woman who appeared to be a domesticated housewife. But she was superspy (the series became more James Bondian after the early success of that classic film franchise) who was better than a man in many things, including the ability to take them on in some grand fight sequence.

Of course, it was Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale that created the template of Emma Peel. Gale was a self-assured, quick-witted anthropologist who was skilled in judo and had a passion for wearing leather clothes. The character of Gale was the most unlike women British TV had seen, though part of that could be directed at the scripts. Before the end of first season, which was lead then by Ian Hendry as Dr David Keel and Patrick Macnee, a strike at the BBC lead to a delay in the start of season two. Hendry left to pursue a film career, leading to the recasting. But scripts were already written for that character, so instead of changing them, they were assigned to Blackman's role as Dr. Cathy Gale.

Honor Blackman stayed for seasons two and three, before leaving to play the one role she'll always be remembered for her in America, that of Pussy Galore in the James Bond film Goldfinger.

While I've seen only of the handful of episodes from The Avengers early seasons -most of the series first 3 seasons have been lost due to the BBC's habit of the time of re-using video tape (which is also why a lot of the first and second Doctor episodes of Doctor Who are gone as well)- but I can see how much the writers were basing Emma on Cathy, though as the series progressed more towards science fiction and high camp, Rigg's Emma Peel became more outrageous. But to me, at that young age, she was the coolest of cool. She was a women living in a man's world and proved to an impressionable me that when the going got rough, she did not always have to wait for a man to save her.

When Rigg left -to do, ironically, the Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service- her replacement, Tara King (LInda Thorson) proved a disappointment. In someways, it was not Thorson's fault the series would end after her first season. Emma Peel had broken taboos in TV on both sides of the Atlantic, and Tara King was just a pale replacement for Rigg's energetic performance.

The Avengers would see a revival for 2 seasons of 13 episodes in 1976-77, but it failed to capture any of the Emma Peel era style. Besides, script supervisor Dennis Spooner felt the original series had mined all the best stories during the 60s, there was nowhere to go. So this version reverted back to it original format of  being a spy thriller. But it also faced financial issues with production, as it was a collaboration with the UK, France and Canada. It did, however, introduce the world to Joanna Lumley as Purdy and Gareth Hunt as Gambit. Lumley, who was amalgamation of Cathy Gale, Emma Peel and Tara King, went on to play Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous (after a stint in the little seen here sci fi show Sapphire & Steel).

I never saw the big screen treatment done years ago, mainly because of the horrible reviews it got, but also because I knew at the time, it could never match the cleverness of the original.

18 October 2011


Books: The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde (2005)

The Big Over Easy was Jasper Fforde’s first novel, yet when it failed to get a release, it was shelved. After the success of his first four Thursday Next novels, Fforde revisited this novel, extensively re-writing it to fit in the same (somewhat) alternate universe that his Thursday Next series. 

In this universe, the public judges its police force by how exciting and glamorous their cases are, so they can be followed in the (fictional) Amazing Crime Stories magazine. It is here we tumble into the seedy underbelly of the nursery crime. Inspector Jack Spratt (who had a cameo in The Well of Lost Plots), is a family man and head of the Nursery Crime Division, and with funding resources in slim decline, and a bungled case of the death of The Big Bad Wolf where he tried to have the pigs brought up murder charges, he’s in need of something big to save his career. He’s assigned investigating the murder of ovoid D-class nursery celebrity Humperdinck Jehoshaphat Aloysius van Dumpty, AKA Humpty Dumpty, who is found shattered to death beneath a wall in a shabby area of town.

What to Spratt and partner DS Mary Mary might first look like a suicide (and more importantly, his boss wants it to be), turns more sinister as they investigate - money laundering, deceit and lovers all over the place.

After reading Fforde’s Thursday Next novels, one gets the idea that with The Big Over Easy, these are ideas only he could do. His odd mixture of puns -Officer Gretel Kandelstyk-Maeker is one of many –and his riffs on typical mystery motifs is enjoyable (as each chapter begins with articles how albinos are being mistreated as terrorists, or on the banning of “identical twin” plots and such, or featuring stories about Miss Maple and Inspector Dogleash). Unlike his Thursday Next books, this book has a more linear plot, but I would say the reader should peruse the early Thursday Next novels to get a better understanding of Fforde’s motives.

All in all, a good mystery that makes fun of mysteries, while also working on our childhood memories of nursery rhymes.

Wild Wild West

I really have no memories of probably my first 10 years of life. When I reflect back, I can remember vague things of the late 1960s, like the Great Chicago Blizzard of 1968, or bits of growing between the years my Dad died in July of '68 to the time my Mom married her second husband in 1971. But up until that second marriage, most of that time is gone, blocked out or whatever. From what I'm told by my mother, I was not the most difficult of her 4 children, but I'm sure I got into a lot of problems. Still, she has told me that I was a kid that she could leave alone for a few hours, in the corner, playing with my cars (one obsession I do remember having), creating (apparently) my own private world. As I got older in the early 70s, TV became an obsession for me, and my siblings. Sunday mornings were spent in front of the TV watching reruns of Westerns on WGN. There was The Cisco Kid, Rawhide, The Lone Ranger, and my personal favorite, The Wild Wild West. I loved that show then, and always wanted to be Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin), he of the disguises and gadget design. I also wanted to live in a train car with all the secret places that one had on TV. I was also, for reasons that I learned later in life, got excited when Jim West (Robert Conrad) would get shirtless. I mean, it was hard enough to understand how he moved in those tight pants, but that hairy chest fascinated me at the time. As I grew up, of course, the understanding of why I got excited for a shirtless Robert Conrad became clear. It was the same reason I loved reruns of Flipper and enjoyed watching Emma Peel kick ass in tight leather outfits, but always have fabulous hair and a cocktail at the end of near-death day. When they cast reunited for a TV movie in 1979, ten years after it ended, I was so excited that on that May evening it aired, I gave up playing baseball with my neighbor. When the show finally got released on DVD, I started to buy the season sets. Of course, in a lot of ways, I was stupid. I had hoped that after all four seasons of the show was out, they would release the two reunion movies. Well, they did, but only included in the Complete Series set, which to this day, pisses me off. I know WWW was hokey, and even Conrad has said that if you've seen 10 episodes of the show, you saw all their stories, but I still have a love for this show -the movie, which I've only seen fragments of, looked like shit. Apparently it was. And this opening credits is, for me, still one of the best.

17 October 2011

A bullied gay teen kills self. Again.

It has happened again.

His name was Jamie Hubley and he was another bullied teenager, taunted and made fun of because he was openly gay. And this past weekend he finally decided he had enough of the abuse and the fear that despite the messages of hope that the “It’s Get Better” project gave, he felt he could not wait another three years. So on Saturday, after posting his final, heartbreaking message online, took his life. He was only 15 years old.
Like Jamey Rodemeyer, who took his life last month at the age of 14 due to the bullying of being openly gay is school as well, Jamie Hubley documented his life via a blog he kept. On it, he poured his grief, his fears, his depression and his heartbreaking life of being bullied in school. He also wrote openly about having no friends and no one understanding what he was going through, even posting pictures of him arms that he cut.

His blog is full of startling images of self-harm, interspersed with messages of sadness, what might amount to an almost text book case of what depression, combined with hate and harassment, does to the soul of a person.  Yet, on the flipside of that coin, his outward personality spoke differently. His love a music was obvious, as well as his ability to sing, as he posted many video covers to Youtube from his favorite artists like Lady Gaga, Adele and Katy Perry. 

On Friday in his blog, he posted his final message where he called himself a “causality of love.” Like any person, gay or straight, he was looking for love and acceptance.  “I just remember him wanting a boyfriend so bad, he’d always ask me to find a boy for him. I think he wanted someone to love him for who he was,” long-time friend Steph Wheeler told the newspaper, The Ottawa Citizen.

But unlike Glee –his favorite show- he discovered being an out gay teen in High School was never going to mirror Kurt’s life. Some three weeks ago, he vented on his blog about how he hates “being the only open gay guy in my school…” He also spoke about the “It’s Get Better” project, and felt that it was “not getting better theres 3 more years of highschool left, Iv been on 4 different anti -depressants, none of them worked. I’v been depressed since january, How fucking long is this going to last. People said “It gets better”. Its fucking bullshit.”

And he was bullied, as he posted just before the school year started: "Being open does not help at all. Yeah, someone will call me a fag. But one after the other, after the other ... I can tell on them ... Yeah. But they don't give a shit. They’ll come back after their suspension (fun day at home, free day at school) and continue calling me a faggot. I'm not ready."

Last month, Dan Savage, the man who started the  “It Gets Better” project, noted on the web site Slog about the death of Rodemeyer that “The point of the "It Gets Better" project is to give kids like Jamey Rodemeyer hope for their futures. But sometimes hope isn't enough. Sometimes the damage done by hate and by haters is simply too great. Sometimes the future seems too remote. And those are the times our hearts break.”

We’ve reached a point, I think, where we need to publically addresses this as human beings. This is not a political issue, nor is it a religion issue (though, sadly, it does factor in at times). It’s about doing what right for today’s gay youth, and not what’s best. Too many people, adults mostly, are afraid to help these kids because of another sort fear, mostly from people who are considered conservative. They’re afraid to speak out because they might lose their job or face opposition in their community due to the support of kids who are accepting their sexuality at much younger age and being open about it. 

We stand now at the crossroad of history, as more and more of today’s youth accept that their fellow students, friends, relatives are gay and that there is no shame in being that way. And more importantly, that being gay can’t be changed like a pair of shoes or shirt. 

And while “The Trevor Project” and the “It Gets Better” mission statements are the most well-known groups designed to help these youths navigate their teen years, but there are times when it is not enough. Maybe some will say that there was no way in helping either of the two young men, but I cannot accept or believe that. 

Both needed to tell them again and again that hope is there, that the life line to survival will always be there to help them. We must start in the home and then the schools. Prejudice is something that is taught, we are not born with it. It’s a learned activity, like talking.

We must give them hope and we must make sure that intolerance and bullying will no longer be acceptable. All of us, as human beings, must share the responsibility of making sure that when we send our children off to school, it will be a place of safety, of learning values that all of us are people of great feelings. Hurting and ganging up on someone, verbally abusing them because they are different is not a value anyone should be able to throw around without consequences. Cause and effect, folks, it’s a simple equation. 

We all, in the end, must take responsibility for our words and action. It’s the human thing to do.

16 October 2011

Actor Zachary Quinto steps out of the closet

In a time when bullying is in the media almost every day, where kids -kids- are taking their lives because they can no longer live with the endless harassment of peers, parents and even religion, it is always great news when someone with a voice many can hear, can finally speak out and add their name to the cause. 

Such is what happened with former Heroes and Star Trek (2009) actor Zachary Quinto. In a statement posted on his official web site, Quinto tells people that the suicide of 14 year-old Jamey Rodemeyer in September convinced him that doing a It Gets Better video, while helpful, meant little if he was living "a gay life without publicly acknowledging it."

Quinto says:

"when i found out that jamey rodemeyer killed himself - i felt deeply troubled.  but when i found out that jamey rodemeyer had made an it gets better video only months before taking his own life - i felt indescribable despair.  i also made an it gets better video last year - in the wake of the senseless and tragic gay teen suicides that were sweeping the nation at the time.  but in light of jamey's death - it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it - is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality.  our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country.  gay kids need to stop killing themselves because they are made to feel worthless by cruel and relentless bullying.  parents need to teach their children principles of respect and acceptance.  we are witnessing an enormous shift of collective consciousness throughout the world.  we are at the precipice of great transformation within our culture and government.  i believe in the power of intention to change the landscape of our society - and it is my intention to live an authentic life of compassion and integrity and action.  jamey rodemeyer's life changed mine.  and while his death only makes me wish that i had done this sooner - i am eternally grateful to him for being the catalyst for change within me.  now i can only hope to serve as the same catalyst for even one other person in this world.  that - i believe - is all that we can ask of ourselves and of each other."

A moving, thoughtful statement that can only help more people who face a daily battle with hate from misguided, often hateful people. The notion that bullying is even remotely okay, that everyone can benefit from it, is such a horrible thought.

Yes, most older GLBT have survived. I survived. But because when I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, being openly gay was not an option. In the 30 years since I left High School, I'm amazed that 14, 15, 16 year-old's can be open about their sexuality. It speaks huge volumes on how far we've come. 

But the battle continues. The GLBT people of the world wake up everyday facing intolerance for no other reason than because a large group of people, who use religion as hatchet, say its okay, that no one can or will ever stop them. 

This perverse message from people with way too much power, who oppose any sort of logical, meaningful thought process, are worth fighting. Their message, wrapped in an American flag and carrying a cross, symbolizes how they cloak their hatred. That if you attack them, you are attacking America and God. 

The thing is, being gay and living a true and open life is America, it is Godly. The Conservative Right accuses the gays (among other groups that question their moral authority) of cherry picking things from the Bible. Whether you except that the Bible is the "word of God" or a collection of fictional stories, the problem is that even if half of these so called "Godly" people followed what is written in the Bible, then their lives would be so much different. 

They cherry pick the most, me thinks.

Any ways, I'm happy another human being, whether they be a movie/TV actor, can step up and say I'm gay, so deal with it. Quinto's voice is welcomed. And like Sean Maher, recently of the canceled NBC show Playboy Club, who came out as well, we will always be grateful.

We are many. We are human beings. We are.

Candy Everybody Wants

13 October 2011

Books: Star Tek: Ishmael by Barbara Hambly (1985)

Many of the early Star Trek novels, especially a few of the 1970s Bantam line, where generally written by fans of TOS. Authors like Sandra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath were huge proponents of the Kirk and Spock relationship, and more so it seemed a lot of the time, just Spock himself. Many of those Bantam titles and the early ones by Simon and Schuster’s Pocket Book line after Star Trek: The Motion Picture, were heavily Kirk, Spock and McCoy centric and a good percentage were written by women. 

Which was not bad, just a rather interesting statistic. Back in 1985, author Barbara Hambly released her first Star Trek novel, Ishmael. And for the last 26 years, it has sat in either a bookshelf or in a box, unread. When I started collecting the Star Trek novels back in the 1980s, I had a lot of good intentions of reading them. But somewhere along the line, I sort just bought them and knew I would probably never read them. It just became, in my new addiction of books, a habit to buy them. While I gave up buying them years and years ago, I still have most of the Bantam Trek’s and most of the Pocket Book editions released in the 1980’s and 90s –with 99.9% of them never read.

Anyways, I had read Hambly before, having enjoyed her Darwarth Trilogy and eventually her Windrose Chronicles. But like so many authors during the 80s, I eventually stopped reading them. Mostly, I guess, because I loved something they wrote before, and was usually disappointed with their later stuff. Not that it was bad, but that was how it worked.

(Side note: I met Hambly once, back in the mid-1980s a Doctor Who convention in San Jose. Decades later, while working at my Borders in Rancho Cucamonga, I would get a chance to meet her mother from time to time, who apparently lives nearby).

So about a week ago, bored or what not, I was on Youtube and was watching opening titles to various TV shows that I grew up with in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Somehow I chanced upon the opening credits to Here Come the Brides, a western/dramedy that ran for two seasons on ABC. I remember the show for one reason, that it co-starred Bobby Sherman, who was a teen heartthrob both my sisters loved –though until I watched those credits again, I did not know future Starsky & Hutch actor David Soul was also on the show. It also starred Mark Lenard, known to us Star Trek fans as Spock’s father.

So, I went over to Wikipedia and hunted down the show to find out what information was on it. Now Here Come the Brides was inspired by the 1954 musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It was also loosely based on the Mercer Girls, a 1860s project of Asa Shinn Mercer, an American who lived in Seattle, who decided to "import" women to the Pacific Northwest to balance the gender ratio. The show starred Robert Brown, who also, ironically, guested in a Star Trek episode, The Alternative Factor.

So what is this all leading to?

Well, further down the page on Wikipedia, it told of a crossover of Here Come the Brides and the Star Trek novel Ishmael. So coming back to my main point about fans writing the early Star Trek novels, this one is pretty much an ultimate fan book. So I went out into the garage, found my copy and decided to finally read it.

After 26 years.

The plot concerns the Enterprise arriving at Starbase 12 when a bizarre cosmic phenomenon causes a Klingon ship to suddenly vanish -- with Spock aboard for the ride. Spock's last message from the Klingon ship is cryptic. The Klingons, it is soon realized, are traveling into the past, searching for the one man who holds the key to the future.
Meanwhile, in the past, 1867 in fact, a man named Aaron Stemple recuses a mysterious man with pointy ears. Fearing that if he takes this injured man into town, he’ll be killed, Stemple secrets him away at his cabin, nursing him back to health. But the injured man has no memory of who he is, and once he is well, introduces the mysterious man in Seattle as his nephew Ishmael. Hijinks insure, of course.

Not an original idea by far, but I do commend Hambly for crossing over the huge Star Trek universe into a little seen TV series that premiered the year the TOS was cancelled. But I’m also sure, as a fan of Star Trek –and obviously Here Come the Brides- it was a cool idea to have Spock interact with the characters of that show, some who also acted on TOS. And i as noted, there is a wink, wink for long-time fans: Aaron Stemple, the man who saved Spock in the book, was played by Mark Lenard, Spock’s TV and movie father, Sarek.

The joke goes on way too long, though, and while it was fun, this could have been a short story more than a full-length novel. But that was the status of those early Trek novels.